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Bath UCU Update: Thurs 9rd Feb 2017

1. Support the NSS Boycott
2. Heart Unions: The Big Workplace Meeting (Thurs 9th Feb 12:30)
3. Pay Inequality – Lobby of Court (Thurs 23rd Feb)
4. #HE4Refugees
5. Urgent: Nominations for Committee Positions
6. UCU Day of Action against Workplace Racism
7. Vice President Elected to University Council
8. Minutes of Branch Meeting (Wed 1st Feb)
9. UCU Elections 2017
10. Mental Health – Time to Talk
11. Other Upcoming Events:
– NHS in Crisis (Thurs, 9th Feb, 19:30) (Thurs, 16th Feb, 19:30)
– Save Bath’s Libraries – Petition & Demo (Tue 14th Feb)
– Educate, Agitate, Celebrate – A Celebration of Migrants in the UK (Sat 18th Feb)
– One Day Without Us – Campaign to Support Immigrants in the UK (Mon, 20th Feb, 1 pm)

1) Support the NSS Boycott

Bath UCU has voted to support Bath SU’s campaign to boycott the National Student Survey (NSS). This is a tactic designed to disrupt the government’s damaging Higher Education reforms. After hearing from Ben Davies, Bath SU Education Officer, members at our last branch meeting voted without opposition to provide practical support.

Members are encouraged to:

  • Inform students that their SU, the NUS and UCU are asking them to boycott the NSS because the data will be used to increase tuition fees and further marketise Higher Education, with damaging consequences for students and staff.
  • Invite SU Officers to attend the beginning of your final year lectures to briefly talk to students about the boycott. Please email a list of available dates, times and venues to
  • Print and display NSS boycott posters outside your office and elsewhere visible to students.

For more information, see the UCU website, Bath UCU blog, Bath SU NSS Boycott page and latest motion passed by Bath UCU branch. If you have any questions about the NSS boycott, please contact the Acting Branch Secretary.

2) Heart Unions: The Big Workplace Meeting (Thurs, 7th Feb, 12:30)

As part of Heart Unions week, we are co-hosting the Big Workplace Meeting, featuring TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady and DJ and broadcaster Amy Lamé – talking about great stories from across the trade union movement.

Join us to watch this short session together at 12:30 in 3 East 3.5!

All staff welcome. If you can’t join us, you can watch online here.

3) Pay Inequality – Lobby of Court (Thurs 23rd Feb)

After news of the VC’s recent £46,000 (11%) pay rise (versus 1.1% imposed on staff), staff and students have expressed anger and frustration at the ever growing wage gap. The branch has resolved to organise a lobby of University Court, calling for transparency over senior management pay and action to reduce overall pay inequality at the University. All colleagues are encouraged to join the lobby of Court on Thursday 23rd Feb, at 13:45 outside 8 West 2.1.

4) #HE4Refugees

Bath UCU and the Students’ Union Amnesty International Society have launched a joint fundraiser to open Higher Education to refugees. The branch agreed at our AGM to match the first £500 donated by members, so please give generously. Your committee will be undertaking a number of challenges over the next few months, including the Bath Half Marathon, to raise for the fund. If you would like to do something in your department, anything from sponsored activities to cake sales, or would like other ideas of how to help, please email

5) Urgent: Nominations for Committee Positions

A number of branch committee positions remain unfilled.

  • Branch Secretary (~3-6 hours/week)
  • Negotiation Committee Secretary (~2-4 hours/week)
  • Recruitment Officer (~1-3 hours/week)
  • BME Members Rep (~30 mins-2 hours/week)
  • International Members Rep (~30 mins-2 hours/week)
  • Lecturers/Readers Rep (~30 mins-2 hours/week)
  • Professorial Rep (~30 mins-2 hours/week)

It is important that these positions are filled for the continuing health of our growing branch. You may be eligible to paid release from your job for trade union duties and activities. If you would like to know more about any of these roles, please contact the Acting Branch Secretary.

6) UCU Day of Action against Workplace Racism

UCU Day of Action Against Workplace Racism

UCU Day of Action Against Workplace Racism

Our theme this year is ‘This is what racism looks like‘. Members are encouraged to watch the UCU documentary, ‘Witness’, chronicling the lived experiences of UCU black members.

There are vacancies on the Branch Committee for a BME Members Rep and International Members Rep. Please contact the Acting Branch Secretary for more information.

7) Vice President Elected to University Council

Branch Vice President, Christopher Roche, has been elected to to the governing body of the University by staff in the MSA, T&E and OFS Job Families. Christopher said “I am grateful to my colleagues for putting their faith in me to represent their interests on Council. I ran promising to prioritise workloads, fair pay and improved democratic representation for staff at the University and want to be held to account. I will be regularly meeting with Reps from all three employer-recognised trade unions and holding a monthly drop-in session for all non-Education & Research staff on the first Wednesday of each month, from 10:15-11:05 in 1 East 2.1.”

8) Minutes of Branch Meeting (Wed 1st Feb)

The branch met to debate our support for the Students’ Union’s NSS boycott, discuss the worsening pay inequality at the University in the wake of the Vice Chancellor’s recent 11% pay rise and receive an update on local claims for gender pay equality and anti-casualisation. Full minutes available here.

9) UCU Elections 2017

Ballots to elect UCU trustees, the general secretary, vice-president from the higher education sector,  honorary treasurer and NEC members are open from 1st February to 1st March 2017. Your branch President, Michael Carley, is standing for election to the NEC in both the Geographically-elected (South) HE and UK-elected HE ballots. Your branch committee fully supports his candidacy. You should receive your ballot paper by Thursday 9th February. For more information, see the UCU website. Please make sure you use your vote.

10) Mental Health – Time to Talk

Members from all three campus trade unions (UCU, Unison and Unite) took part in the ‘Time to Talk Cafe‘ on Thursday 2nd February. This was the first in a series of events on campus planned for this year to challenge the stigma around mental health. Dr Kim Luetchford, UCU Department Rep in Chemical Engineering,  said “It was good to open conversations about mental health at the university and to hear more about the resources available to staff and students who need support. However, the university must acknowledge the effects of workplace stress on mental health and do more to minimise its causes, such as increased workloads and job insecurity.” If you would like to be involved in future work on improving staff mental health at the University, please contact Christopher Roche.

11) Other Upcoming Events:

  • NHS in Crisis – You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til it’s Gone! (Thurs 16th Feb, 19:30)
Dr Youssef El-Gingihy, GP and author of ‘How to dismantle the NHS in 10 easy steps’, is speaking at the Friends Meeting House in York Street. Facebook event here.
  • Save Bath’s Libraries – Petition & Demo (Tue 14th Feb)

Save Bath Libraries leafletLocal residents are resisting plans by B&NES Council to close Bath Central Library and move a severely reduced service to the ‘One Stop Shop’ in Manvers Street. Please sign and share the petition to B&NES Council and join the demo outside the Council vote in Bath Guildhall on Tuesday 14th February at 5 pm.

  • Educate, Agitate, Celebrate – Celebration of Migrants in the UK (Sat 18th Feb)
Join Bath Trades Union Council to mark their 125th anniversary with a celebration of the contribution of migrant workers to the UK labour movement.
Free and open to all – an afternoon of film, talks, food, drinks and live music. Book your free ticket through Eventbrite today!
Against a backdrop of rising rascism and xenophobia in the UK and overseas, now is the perfect time to celebrate and rediscover what can be achieved when people of all backgrounds stand together, united.
  • One Day Without Us – Campaign to Support Immigrants in the UK (Mon, 20th Feb, 1 pm)

Gather on campus (outside the library) or in town (outside Primark) at 1pm to coincide with similar gatherings across the country. We’ll then be part of  a Twitter/social media storm created when hundreds (thousands?) of photos of gatherings and messages of support are posted online.

More information: University event Facebook page:

The town event Facebook page:

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